Portugal has had its first offshore floating wind turbine installed, five kilometres off the coast of Agucadoura. The tower stands at 54 metres tall, weighs 1,200 metric tonnes, and adds two megawatts to the nation’s energy grid; enough to power 1,300 houses.
The floating foundation upon which the turbine sits is called the WindFloat and was developed in a collaboration between Vestas and Energias de Portugal (EDP).
Ditlev Engel, the CEO of Vestas, said that “floating foundations are one of the solutions with the highest potential for harvesting wind in deeper waters and the WindFloat project was a highly interesting possibility for us to help explore this area within offshore wind.”
The WindFloat has mechanisms which help it maintain its balance and position in the large waves far out at sea where the water depth exceeds 50 metres and the wind resources tend to be better. Since its installation was completed the turbine has already resisted the harsh environment of the Atlantic, including waves of up to 15 metres.
Following the success of this wind turbine EDP want to use the WindFloat to build a large windfarm near the city of Povoa do Varzim, they are just waiting for funding from the European Union.
Pedro Valverde, the project manager at EDP, said that “after the prototypes are fully tested, we start with the commercial phase in two years’ time, with the objective of starting to have some return on the investment.”